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Thursday, November 25, 2010

POSTPARTUM CHANGES VI: DIET AND NUTRIENTS

It is important to make sure that you’re getting the nutrition you need after childbirth, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby. If you are concerned about losing weight and gaining muscle as soon as possible, keep these points in mind:

·         You lost about ten pounds during delivery: the baby, the placenta, and amniotic fluids.

·         Much of the swelling and weight on your body for the first week or two is made up of the remaining fluid and tissue in your uterus, which is coming out gradually as lochia. Most of the extra water your body stored during pregnancy will leave your body through urination and sweating.

·         Producing breast milk uses many calories. This means that you must try to eat the most nutritious foods you can to keep your energy up and to pass important vitamins and minerals to your baby. As long as you try not to eat more than you need, and make sure the food you eat is high in nutrition, you will lose extra fat naturally as you breastfeed.

·         Dieting is not recommended until six weeks after childbirth if you aren’t breastfeeding. Dieting is not recommended at all while you are breastfeeding.

·         If you diet, talk to a health care provider about getting the nutrition you need and making sure you won’t be losing much more than a half pound every month. Don’t forget to include an exercise program to build strength while you lose fat you don’t need.

The nutrients that are most important to breastfeeding mothers and babies are generally those that are important to everyone. If you are breastfeeding, you may need to eat more of certain foods to take in enough for two, and you may also feel thirstier than usual. It is important to eat and drink frequently when you breastfeed—you can probably trust your body to crave the foods you need the most. Here is a list of foods containing the nutrients your body needs:

WATER: Clear water, juices, soups

FAT: Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.), lean meats, nuts, oils, eggs

CARBOHYDRATES: Whole grains (not bleached or processed), rice and pasta, nuts, fruits, vegetables

PROTEIN: Dried beans, nuts and peanut butter, eggs, dairy products, lean meats

VITAMIN A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens like spinach, ugu

VITAMIN C: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, berries, potato skins

CALCIUM: Dairy products, greens, dried beans, some fish

IRON: Spinach (ewedu), whole-grain foods, lean red meat, dried fruit

Products That Pass Into Breast Milk
Certain common products pass into your breast milk and may affect your baby’s health as
well as yours. Some of these products are caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, colas), tobacco, artificial sweeteners, alcohol (beer, wine, liquor), aspirin and ibuprofen (acetaminophen is usually not harmful in small amounts), cold medications, and weight-loss medications. Call your health care provider to ask questions before using these products. Do not use illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine or crack, heroin or methadone, PCP, LSD, amphetamines, ecstasy, hashish, and so on). Prescription drugs should be taken only on the advice of your health care provider.

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